The Rite is a horror-thriller that’s based on actual events that occurred between two priests in Rome. The film is directed by Mikael Håfström and stars Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins, and a young, Irish actor named Colin O’Donoghue. The duo are cast as an unlikely pair: the believer and the doubter, and as viewers we watch them fight a battle of spiritual warfare, while dealing with their own personal demons.

Check out the review…

The Players:

  • Director: Mikael Håfström
  • Writers: Michael Petroni, Matt Baglio
  • Cast: Colin O’Donoghue, Anthony Hopkins, Alice Braga, Ciaran Hinds, Rutger Hauer, Toby Jones
  • Cinematography By: Ben Davis
  • Original Music By: Alex Heffes

The Plot:

The Rite centers on a priest named Michael Kovak (O’Donoghue) who travels to Rome for exorcism training. He has serious doubts about his faith and his superiors hope that his new tutelage will restore it. He becomes the apprentice to a well-known but highly unconventional priest named Father Lucas Trevant (Hopkins), and through his experiences he learns the ugly truth about Satan, demons, and possession.

The Good:

  • Colin O’Donoghue: The young actor plays the lead role as the doubting soon-to-be priest Michael Kovak. Initially he comes across as disinteresting and average but he holds his own against a seasoned Anthony Hopkins and Rutger Hauer.
  • Light Humor: Despite the thriller/horror emphasis, there are several instances of humor in this film. Extreme moments of tension are broken up by the most random statements or incidents. [Spoiler] At one point a cell phone rings during an exorcism and the priest stops to take the call. It’s inappropriate but hilarious.

The So-So:

  • Pass the Priest: There’s no real motivation behind any of Kovak’s actions prior to the last 20 minutes of the film. He’s not interested in exorcisms but they’re thrust upon him by three different people. It’s literally like watching pass the student. It’s a strange way to progress the plot, and it comes across as lazy writing.
  • Underused Actors: Hinds, Hauer, and Jones have small supporting parts that each serve one purpose. Once they’ve completed them, they disappear into the background and with the exception of Hauer, we never hear from them again. I understand that actors sign on for cameos or small parts all the time, but with talent like theirs, the writers could have at least made them good.

The Bad:

  • Alice Braga: Braga’s character is based on the writer of the book from which the film is based. What’s the purpose of changing the sex of the character other than having an attractive woman on screen? She brings nothing new to the role.
  • The Exorcisms: The movie is PG-13 so the exorcism scenes are nothing to write home about. There are some decent jump scares but they can only go so far because of the rating, therefore don’t look for anything truly horrifying to come out of this.


The Rite is a watered down exorcism film that provides a few inappropriate laughs, and some decent scares. Buy a ticket at your own risk.

Rating: 6/10

The Rite opens in theaters on January 28th.

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Will you be seeing The Rite this weekend?